The man behind the hulking mass of one of cinema’s greatest ever villains has passed on. The British bodybuilder turned actor David Prowse has died at the age of 85.
Appearing in movies and shows as wide ranging as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange to Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky, Up Pompeii, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Saint and Doctor Who, it was his role as the iconic Darth Vader that crowned his career.
Prowse was brought up on the Southmead housing estate in Bristol, winning a scholarship to Bristol Grammar School. Prowse was tall, standing at 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), and took up bodybuilding as a hobby. His first job was as a bouncer on the door of a dance hall, where he met his future wife. After winning the British heavyweight weightlifting championship he left Bristol in 1963 to work for a London based weightlifting company.
Outside of Star Wars Prowse helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in the 1978 film and Cary Elwes for his role as Westley in The Princess Bride. He also played Frankenstein’s monster three times, twice in Hammer Horror movies.
He also did a stint on television as The Green Cross Code Man, part of a UK safety campaign teaching children about road safety.
He was awarded the MBE in 2000. He passed away yesterday after a short illness. His agents Bowington Management tweeted:
“It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85.”
Rest in Peace Mr Prowse. Thanks for being the best bad guy there ever was to a whole generation.